Ray Lewis: ‘Loving God Completes You as a Man’ (Gospel Light Minute #82)

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Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis

He is an linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He is considered to be one of the best linebackers of his era. He played college football for the University of Miami. He has played his entire professional career with the Ravens after they selected him as a first round draft pick in 1996, and he is the last player remaining from the Ravens’ inaugural season. He has been selected to 13 Pro Bowls and has been named an Associated Press All-Pro Player 10 times. He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2000 and 2003. He was also the second linebacker to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award and the first linebacker to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team.

He is a follower of Jesus Christ, and his commitment to his faith was featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story in 2006. During an interview with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he said, “God is always God. It is only us that waver and go down wrong roads and do foolish things. And there are somethings in life that you have to deal with, and you have to go through some things to get to God.” He believes that Christians should be about sharing faith, hope and love in every arena of life, and says that his faith inspires him to pray, read the Bible with, and give advice and encouragement to younger players so that they won’t make the same mistakes he made.

During a recent game, he reminded his teammates that “No weapon formed against them shall prosper and that no man can stop what God can already destined.” His favorite scripture is Psalm 91 because it reminds him that “God is everything you need.” His love for God is evidenced in his charitable work providing personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth. He says, “to love God completes you as a man.”

His name is Ray Lewis.

Johnny “Football” Manziel ‘Trusts the Lord With All his Heart’ (Gospel Light Minute #81)

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel

He is the quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies. He became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, and the first freshman to win the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. He played high school football in Kerrville, Texas. Recruited out of high school as a dual-threat quarterback with an impressive ability to extend plays, he plays in Kevin Sumlin’s Air Raid offense in Texas A&M’s first season in the SEC. Here he was given the name “Johnny Football” by fans and students for his unique improvisation and ability to make winning plays. He recently led his team to beat Oklahoma in the 2013 Cotton Bowl Classic.

In his Heisman acceptance speech, he said, “I thank God for allowing me to be here and for His grace and love throughout my life.” He thanked his parents for bringing him up in the church and for the faith that he holds dearly. He often quotes Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” He said, “I tell myself everyday that God has a plan for me. I’m here for a reason and whatever happens in the future is meant to happen for a reason. I always make sure to trust the Lord with all my heart.” His name is Johnny Manziel.

Adrian Peterson says he Finds Peace in his Relationship with Jesus Christ (Gospel Light Minute #80)

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Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson

He is the NFL’s premier running back. He plays for the Minnesota Vikings and is its all-time leading rusher. He is a 4-time Pro Bowl front runner and one of the league’s most marketable players. In college, he set the NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards during the 2004 season. As a first-team All-American, he became the first freshman to finish as the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting, behind USC quarterback Matt Leinart.

After his first pro season, he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and was then awarded the MVP award for his performance in the Pro Bowl. He became only the fifth player in NFL history to have more than 3,000 yards through his first two seasons. In 2010, he became the fifth fastest player to run for 5,000 yards, doing so in his 51st game. In 2012, he became the sixth fastest player to reach 8,000 rushing yards. Nicknamed A.D. for “All Day”, his football career success is carried by his tireless determination.

Born to two athletic parents, he was interested in sports from an early age. As a child, however, his life was not absent of pain and heartache. At 7, he watched his oldest brother die after being hit by a drunk driver while they were bike-riding. And while in high school, his dad, who was also his coach, went to jail on a drug charge. He credits his faith in God for sustaining him through those tough times and helping him to stay focused on his goals.

He says of his relationship with Jesus Christ: “Jesus Christ means the world to me. I’ve been through so many different situations through my childhood and now my adulthood…God just helped me get through them and made me stronger at a young age. (Through) all the adversity and hard times I’ve been through, God has always been present. I’ve always prayed to Him and asked Him to give me the strength to endure and to help others and to better understand whatever situation I deal with in my personal life. And He has always showed up! It brings hope and peace of mind knowing that God gave His only begotten Son for us. I’m able to look back and know that on Christmas day Jesus was born and gave us the opportunity to have eternal life. No matter how many flaws we have, our God is so forgiving and understanding. He’ll never leave you or forsake you. So that brings peace to me.” His name is Adrian Peterson.

Jeremy Lin is an Outspoken Christian Who Seeks to Bring God More Glory (Gospel Light Minute #41)

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Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin

He is the latest sensation to hit the sports world. He is considered to be “the Tim Tebow of the NBA”. After receiving no athletic scholarship offers out of high school and being undrafted out of college, the 2010 Harvard University graduate reached a partially guaranteed contract deal later that year with his hometown Golden State Warriors. After his first year, he was waived by the Warriors and the Houston Rockets in the preseason before joining the New York Knicks early in the 2011–2012 season. He is the first American player in the NBA to be of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. He is credited with helping the New York Knicks win several recent games and the term “Linsanity” has been coined based upon his extraordinary talent.

While at Harvard, he was co-founder of a Bible study group run by the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Christian Fellowship. Following his sudden rise to stardom, he said, “I’m thinking about how I can trust God more. How can I surrender more? How can I bring Him more glory?” An outspoken Christian, he has made it no secret that he thanks God for everything in his life. He says he would one day like to be a pastor who can head up non-profit organizations, either home or abroad. He said “everything in my life is a blessing from God. I look back and I realize these are His fingerprints all over my story. Our true prize … was something in heaven, not on earth. I realize I had to learn … to stop chasing the perishable prizes of this earth … and give my best effort unto God and trust Him with the results.” His name is Jeremy Lin.

Michael Franzese: A Mafia Boss Turns to the Messiah (Gospel Light Minute #79)

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Michael Franzese

Michael Franzese

He is a former New York mobster with the Colombo crime family who was heavily involved in the gasoline tax rackets in the 1980s. In the mid-1980s, Fortune Magazine listed him as number 18 on its list of the “Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses” According to a Federal report, he made more money for a crime family than anyone since Chicago boss Al Capone. As the former “Prince of the Mafia,” he faced dozens of grand jury appearances, three major racketeering indictments, five criminal trials, seven years in prison and a Mafia death sentence.

However, in 1987, while in prison, he made a decision to walk away from the Colombo family and organized crime. Crediting the prayers of his Christian wife, Cammy, her family, and her church, he left the world of crime and became a born again Christian. He said, “If it had not been for my wife’s prayers, I wouldn’t be alive. There’s no question that I’d either be dead or in prison for the rest of my life. And that’s not even a guess. That’s absolute.”

Today, he is a follower of Jesus Christ and a man on a mission. He often describes his very own Damascus Road experience, from his early days in the Mob and its rise to power to God leading him to do the unthinkable: quit the Mob and follow Jesus. Since his conversion, he has created a foundation called the Breaking Out Foundation to educate, empower, and equip youth to face life’s challenges.

He has become a motivational speaker to churches, corporate events, schools, and Christian conferences. And he shares his compelling story in two books, “Blood Covenant” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Forgiven”. His theme always hits home with audiences around the world: “You can’t escape the long arm of the law—and you sure can’t escape the longer arm of the Lord.” His name is Michael Franzese.

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